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New classes match recent trend in parity across departments and focus on cultural studies

Landscape photo of courtyard of old building with people walking in front.
East Pyne Archway.
Zehao Wu / The Daily Princetonian

In the first few days of the semester, undergraduates have already sampled from the 197 new courses offered this spring, featuring topics ranging from “Mexican Modernism” to “The Paranormal and the Supernatural.” In the absence of course evaluations from previous semesters, which past courses have on, students are exploring these courses during the add/drop period, which ends on Feb. 9 at 11:59 p.m. 

The Daily Princetonian looked at trends in new courses from the last three semesters. 


Additions to cultural studies departments

Student groups including Princeton Caribbean Connection and Natives at Princeton have called for increased representation in the course selection in the past few years. There seems to have been a response to such asks as over 14 percent of new courses in the last three semesters have been concentrated in cultural studies departments.

After teaching a course on Native American Historian Elizabeth Ellis is offering HIS 407: History Behind the Headlines: Native America in the News. According to the course description, each week, students will examine a “recent headline case in native America” to “uncover the policies, laws, experiences of Native peoples that have shaped our contemporary moment.”

While professors tend to not begin new classes often and seldom teach multiple classes in a semester, Lorgia García Peña is offering two new courses this semester: AAS 354/LAS 362/LAO 362: Black Latinidad: from Frederick Douglass to Cardi B, and LAO 359/LAS 340/SPA 361/AAS 374: Tropical Fantasies: The Hispanic Caribbean and Haiti in the Global Imaginary. Both courses are cross-listed as African American Studies, Latin American Studies, and Latino Studies. 

In her second semester at Princeton, Carolyn Choi, an assistant professor in the Effron Center who was one of three professors for AMS101, is also offering two new courses focused on the Asian American experience amid US empire-building.

New courses across departments


The Freshman Seminar program consistently sees the most new courses each semester, more than doubling the next closest class area. Each department has added classes in fairly similar quantities. 

This spring, FRS 114: The Glass Class is among the most-coveted first-time courses, with 86 students subscribed to be notified of an opening by TigerSnatch. The Glass Class includes a separate lab section, enabling students to “learn hands-on flame work and scientific glassblowing” while receiving an SEL credit. In this course, students will travel to Venice, Italy, and learn about the history of Italian glass from Murano artisan studios and at the Ca' Fascari University and the Cini Foundation during spring break. 

The department with the most new courses added this semester was The School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA). SPIA is offering 12 new courses, among them, SOC 228: Schooled: Education, Opportunity, and Inequality. While enrollment capacity for the class was initially listed at 65 students, 75 are currently enrolled. Offered by Jennifer L. Jennings, a Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, the course seeks to answer, among other questions, “Who succeeds in school, and why?” and applies “sociological perspectives to the study of education.”

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Over the last three years, 213 300-level courses were added, nearly fifty percent more than were added of the next highest, which was 400-level classes. The least common level has been the 100 level classes, one of which, sort of in its own category, is JPN1001: Introductory Japanese I, taught at “half the pace of instruction compared to a regular elementary Japanese course,” is offered for the first time to introduce Japanese writing systems. 

A full list of the new course offerings can be found on the Office of the Registrar website.

Elisabeth Stewart is an assistant News editor for the ‘Prince.’

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